Joint Reviewed by May and Tori
I’ve battled the Reapers of Chaos before–and survived. But this time I have a Bad, Bad Feeling it’s going to be a fight to the death … most likely mine.
Yeah, I’ve got my psychometry magic, my talking sword, Vic–and even the most dangerous Spartan on campus at my side, in Logan freaking Quinn, but I’m no match for Loki, the evil Norse god of chaos. I may be Nike’s Champion, but at heart, I’m still just Gwen Frost, that weird Gypsy girl everyone at school loves to gossip about.
Then someone I love is put in more danger than ever before, and something inside me snaps. This time, Loki and his Reapers are going down for good … or I am. (Goodreads)
Killer Frost is the sixth and final book in Jennifer Estep’s action packed mythological based urban fantasy series-Mythos Academy. A YA series that has followed high schooler, Gwen Frost, through her trials and tribulations as she is unceremoniously pulled into a secret war between the gods and goddesses. Heralded as Nike’s Champion, Gwen and her talking sword, Vic, learned in Midnight Frost (book five) that Gwen holds the key to defeating Lori and his band of Reapers. She just needs to figure out what that key is before Lori rises fully and destroys Gwen and everyone she loves.
Tori: So May, what did you think of Estep’s and Gwen’s finale? Overall I enjoyed the story though there were a few things that dragged it down for me. It starts out with Gwen having to use her gift to read some mythological artifacts. Rumor has it the Reapers are looking for one artifact in particular that will complete Loki’s transformation and everyone hopes Gwen will discover something that points them in the right direction. An attack by the Reapers pushes Gwen towards discovering the correct artifact but when the Reapers attack again, to close to home, Gwen takes matters into her own hands.
The book starts out slow in my opinion as Estep sets up the story line and places the players in position. There is still some uneasiness between Gwen and Logan and I liked that. In reality, he has let her down quite a few times and though she loves him, the trust is still trying to rebuild. Plus, it reinforces that for all that Gwen has been through, she is still a teenager with all the angst and drama that goes along with it. I also enjoyed her anger. Anger she is entitled to. She didn’t grow up in this world and she is unable to accept the unspoken adage that some losses are okay in order to win the war. Especially since she has lost so much to it. One aspect that did bother me was Gwen had a few to many pity parties in the beginning. She continues to bemoan being the Champion, her parent’s deaths, ect…What did you think, May?
MAY: I really hate to admit this Tori, but I had a hard time staying interested and actually reading this book. A number of times I actually had to force myself to not skim. I feel like I’ve known what the overall outcome was going to be of this series since the start and so for me I didn’t have a sense of urgency with this book.
Now don’t kick me out of the J.E. fanclub!! Seriously – this was a great series and I do think it was time for it to end. I liked knowing that there would be a set number of books and that when the story of Gwen battles Loki ended, the series would end.
Where to start talking about this book in particular? Well since I already admitted I had a bit of trouble being invested in it – let’s get dirty. I’ve gotta say I’m tired of the “Gwen the good girl who never puts out” squeaky clean bit. As a character Gwen has been getting on my nerves lately but I feel like she has this smugness to her – she’s so good, she’s such a champion, clearly she has control always. I wanted more darkness, more depth, and more raging teen hormones with Gwen! Get out of control, girl! Ok, so I know that we were not going to get any heat with this series (it is YA, after all) and I agree with Estep’s choice there. Annnnnnd now I’m dying to throw a “but” in here so I will stop typing and turn it back over to you!
TORI: I have to agree with you, May. As this is the last book in the series, the foreshadowing up till now pretty much tells us what’s going to happen and a little of the how. Similar to Midnight Frost, I felt this installment wasn’t as action packed as books one thru four. Once again, the focus is placed primarily on Gwen and her actions and reactions to events unfolding. I did wish for more darkness and depth. I do feel she achieves some of this towards the end but it resolves too easily to allow for any real sense of anticipation.
Since Logan and Gwen’s quintessential conflict which places them at odds, I too wanted them to have a special make up moment to solidify their love and commitment to one another. Of course, we weren’t going to get that. Sex isn’t on the table in YA that often and Estep uses Gwen as the first true love in Logan’s life. She changes him. I do feel his role went from an equal protagonist to a sidekick after they started dating and that bothered me a little. Rather, they conflict with each other until one needs saving, then all is forgiven.
Now on to the secondary characters. May, how did you feel their roles towards the end correlated with how they have been characterized through the series?
MAY: I think Estep was very consistent with her voice throughout the series – and with her characters as well. This is something I always love about her writing! I feel like if a character changes or develops in new surprising ways you can look back and see the reasoning or even realize you should have seen it coming. Love it when she surprises me.
When it comes to the secondary characters, I feel like some really developed nicely and others were always just filler. Nicomedes was by far and away the big surprise through this series for me – he added so much in his own ways, and he was a highlight of this book for me. Especially for a YA series – I really like seeing an adult character who is respected and who adds to the story as he did. Teenagers most certainly do not know it all – despite what they may think.
I did not find myself surprised, impressed, or otherwise happy with any of the other adults in this book of the series which was a disappointment. Grandma, Matis, Nike, and even Logan’s dad seemed like they all had more potential for Gwen’s story. How did you feel about them?
TORI: I agree with you across the board. Estep has a fabulous voice that does well for adult and YA. I never felt as though I was just reading the story. She easily drags me in and consumes me. Nicomedes had to be, by far, my favorite character. He was the most developed and dynamic of the secondary characters. I enjoyed watching him and Gwen go from frenemies to allies to friends. Was it just me or did you get the feeling that “Professor Snapes” finally got his happily ever after? I couldn’t help but compare the two as the arc progressed. As for the other characters, they were all pretty much were regulated to a standby position, used to reinforce and elevate Gwen’s character. I was deflated by their lack of action in this installment. Though, I’m glad someone finally got their moment in the sun. *grin*
The storyline was predictable but the journey was interesting. I think the path Gwen chooses to take is noteworthy in it’s undertaking but reflects back on what you mentioned, May. Her need to be “the one.” I was irritated by her all her secrecy though she does explain her reasons why in a way that is understandable. Loki’s appearance definitely amps up the action and drama in the storyline, adding a sense of seriousness and dread to the storyline that’s been missing, but it wasn’t delivered with the “punch” I thought it would have. Vivian and Agrona were good, but after Crimson Frost, they seemed to have developed a juvenile tone in their scenes. What did you think, May?
MAY: I totally agree with you. In fact, I was going to comment on the overall juvenile (great choice of words, Tori!) feel to the villains. Even Loki felt like a cheap punchline and not a real threat. I needed a lot more from the bad guys, especially since they were the entire focus of this book. We didn’t have Gwen learning, growing, doing other stuff – she was 100% kicking ass and finishing up with them. I think that hurt the strength of this book for me because I was waiting for her to deal with a worthy adversary instead of trotting around so easily.
For me, this hurt the power of her choices at the end of the book because while yes, she’s been through hell and back, in this particular book she really hadn’t. As it has been quite a few months since reading the last book the power of previous events wasn’t still with me as I read.
Reading this book actually has me wanting to re-read the whole series though. Mostly because I think this is a series that would read much stronger if done back-to-back vs over a number of years as we did.
TORI: Yes, that is a good point. It’s such a strong cohesive series with so many ongoing plot lines, the time between each book seems to dampen the edge. The internal drama that usually surrounded Gwen wasn’t there. Her choices aren’t really choices. The path in here is predetermined and there wasn’t room to maneuver beyond it. Regardless of my issues, I do feel Estep wrapped this series in an acceptable fashion, giving us a action packed ending and some clues to the Gwen and Logan’s future. Small clues hint that perhaps Estep may revisit this world again. All in all, I was happy with the conclusion and will miss this series now that it has ended. I don’t recommend new readers starting here. The series is on going with an evolving arc that doesn’t do an in depth recap.
Favorite Quote: “ I understand your reasoning. Really, I do. But don’t expect me to save you in return.”
MAY: While this wasn’t the strongest book in the series, it is a fitting conclusion. I really liked how she ended this series, giving us enough information and a leisurely last few chapters to draw our own conclusions and say goodbye to this cast of characters. Overall, sitting on my shelf the complete series will be an excellent read for my daughters in a few years but also as enjoyable for myself to re-read.
“You know how… clumsy I can be with things especially artifacts. Who knows? I might… lose it or something.”
“It’s a risk I’m willing to take Gwendolyn,” Nickamedes replied in a soft voice. “Even if others are not.”
The librarian stared at me again, and I saw the certainty blazing in his eyes, along with his faith- in me.